Donna Sims March 25th, 2018
The final biggest consideration in choosing a bag is the insulation that is used in that bag. There are basically two types of insulations available. One is the goose down and the other is a synthetic blend. While both will do the job to keep you warm, they both have their pros and cons. For example, the goose down is soft and very lightweight contributing to the ease of travel when hiking. However, it is much more costly and if it happens to get wet, doesn't dry easily. Synthetic insulation on the other hand is heavier, bulkier, and not as soft. Yet, the cost isn't as hard on your pocket book and the wet weather isn't as big an issue because the synthetic blend dries in a quicker manner than its down counterpart. In either case, some type of padding under the bag is highly recommended.
Charlene Lyons March 24th, 2018
It must be easy to store. The backpacking sleeping bag should roll into the smallest space possible, for easy stowage and maneuvering. A big, bulky sleeping bag tied to your back can be a major impediment when moving through difficult or heavily forested terrain.
Luisa Horton March 25th, 2018
Sleeping bags are either synthetic-filled or down-filled. Goose down bags are light weight and perfect for backpacking and on your biking trip. Renowned for its superior insulation, goose down is one of the premier sleeping bag materials made to keep the warmth in and keep the cold out. Synthetic sleeping bags are cheaper than down and usually non-allergenic. They are easier to take care of especially if spill is sponged off immediately. Sleeping bag fill will come in both short and long fibers. Many new synthetics use a "hollow fiber" method that keeps sleeping bags light and allows for good compression when packing, while still offering excellent warmth. Long fibers found in sleeping bags with synthetic fill are more stable and will be less likely to shift during use. Short fibers on the other hand, both down fill and synthetic, can shift during use, affecting your sleeping bag's loft and inviting cold air in.
Marisol Bowers March 25th, 2018
Temperature ratings are a good prediction of the ability of your sleeping bag to protect you from cold. Summer weight bags keep you warm in temperatures 35 degrees or higher. 3-season bags keep you warm in temperatures of 10 degrees to 35 degrees. Cold weather sleeping bags keep you warm in minus 10 degrees to plus 10 degrees. Winter/Extreme bags keep you warm in minus 10 degrees and below.
Gretchen Maynard March 24th, 2018
The shape of the actual sleeping bag is down to personal preference. The general choices are the usual rectangular shape, the tapered shape, or the mummy bag. Some people may not like the feel of sleeping in a normal rectangular shaped bag, preferring the closeness of a tapered one, whereas others may feel too claustrophobic.
Jacklyn Mcgee March 25th, 2018
The other sacrifice is the size or bulkiness of the bag. A mummy sleeping bag for the most part will be much smaller for carrying around which is why it is a preference for many backpackers/hikers. The rectangular sleeping bag isn't as small but since it's not typical to be carrying it, other than somewhere in a vehicle while getting to your intended destination, the bulkiness of the bag is not as big an issue.
Melody Pennington March 25th, 2018
The two most common types of sleeping bags are rectangular and mummy or cocoon style. While rectangular shaped ones are probably the most popular style, experienced campers and adventure seekers favor the cocoon designs. The cocoon is a form fitting style that is smaller and lightweight, but still offers the same temperature rating as comparable rectangular sleeping bags. Mummy sleeping bags are roomy, solid, include many technical elements, and are available in a variety of insulation and fabrics. Rectangular sleeping bags give more room to move around and can usually be zipped together with other rectangular bags if needed. The mummy bag conforms more closely to the body than a rectangular bag where heat escapes from the top more quickly. Some semi-rectangular bags come with a contoured hood making up for the heat loss. Common dimensions for rectangle sleeping bags are: 28" x 60" (children), 33" x 75" (adult), 33" x 80" (tall adult), and 39" x 80" (big and tall adult).
Lelia Douglas March 25th, 2018
If you see a +20 degree rating that would mean that the bag should be warm enough for temperatures that are 20 degrees or warmer. And if you see a - 20 degree rating then it has been determined that the bag should be warm enough for minus 20 degree weather.
Martha Mccall March 25th, 2018
Lastly, you might want to consider portability, compactness - ease of carrying your sleeping bags. Your bags should not be greater than three pounds for carrying. Neither should it be too big according to your carrying capacity (Except if you are going winter camping with expected bigger winter bags). There are compression sacks for bulky bags but remember that this could damage the bag's filling in the long run and affect its insulation. The most compressible sleeping bags are down bags. You can fit them in a backpack.
Luisa Horton March 25th, 2018
Now while there are other things to consider in buying a sleeping bag, these are the most important. Having this information alone will help you to choose the perfect sleeping bag for a comfortable night's rest during your next overnight outdoor adventure.
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